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When we first came to Nassau almost 4 years ago, we had two of our 4 sons with us. Now it is just the two of us facing an empty nest together and ministering side by side at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp.
You may recall in posts from earlier this year that I had been dreading Zachary’s October departure. A wise friend told me, “Mindy, God promises grace in all life’s circumstances, but grace isn’t given until it is needed. You don’t need it now because Zachary is still with you. When the time comes, you will be surprised at how God’s grace will meet you in your time of need.” Well, we have entered the “time of need”, and I must testify that God has more than abundantly provided!
I am surprised and amazed that an infinite God would care enough for me to not only provide peace and comfort in my time of sadness but also orchestrate life’s circumstances and my perspective so that I can see His grace.
Hurricane Matthew and its aftermath coincided with Zachary’s departure and thus has given me something else with which to preoccupy my time. Instead of coming back to the island to “normalcy” (people, events, schedules) after dropping Zachary off, things are so different then what they were a few months ago (even the landscape has changed). This “new” busy with clean-up efforts and serving many guests/volunteers has left me with little time to be sad. Furthermore, time heals wounds, and I am anticipating by the time things slow down, my heart will have adjusted to life without Zachary here.
As Tim and I enter this empty nest phase of our lives, we are doing so with a reliance on God, knowing that wherever life takes us, whatever comes our way, we will be carried through by an infinite, awesome God who cares very deeply for us. May God be glorified in all we do!
The last blog post centered around Hurricane Matthew: the aftermath video and resulting damages at ALC&C. Since the hurricane, we at ALC and those that have come to Nassau to help us clean-up and make repairs have gotten a lot accomplished. God has been good in providing funds and man power as well as fellowship from those here visiting. There is still a lot of work to be done, and it will take time to get everything completed. Please pray for wisdom/discernment in prioritizing tasks, finances to make necessary repairs (some damages were directly caused by the hurricane and others were brought to a head by the storm causing us to see the need to make repairs earlier than planned), and strength/stamina to complete storm related tasks as well as “normal” ministry tasks.
Welcome aboard to a couple of missionary ladies who are joining the ALC&C staff family! Both ladies are named Debbie and both come bringing with them talent and encouragement.
Debbie Bird is a past ALC&C staff member. She is returning to assist wherever she is needed in the ministry. In the immediate future, she is helping us direct the planning of lights and pageant scenes for the Christmas Lights Drive Thru.
Deborah Degen is from Germany (originally Ghana) and was referred to us by ALC founder, Randy Grebe who met Deborah on OM’s ship Logos Hope. We are excited to have Deborah and look forward to her time and talents being used here serving the Bahamian people as a facilitator at the Centre
We would also like to welcome local landscaper Andrew Cartwright to the volunteer staff of ALC&C. Andy has a servant heart and is volunteering time to help ALC&C oversee the grounds and getting it back to pre-hurricane beauty. He is also working with the ground guys to develop a schedule. Thank you, Andy, for your service!
This fall, all but one of our local guest groups cancelled their weekend stays at ALCamp because of the hurricane, but that did not mean we were not serving guests at Camp. You may recall from previous posts that one part of our ministry is hosting not only the mission teams and guest groups that come to stay at Adventure Learning Camp, but we also host individuals that come to minister at the ALC&C, see the ministry while on the island for a vacation/cruise, or require a place for respite from work done at other ministries around the country or around the world. Hurricane Matthew’s damage to the ALC&C provided a lot of opportunities for people to come and serve; we had a few ministry people stay with us to rest and retreat; and we had two couples come through while on cruises.
Calvary Chapel in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida area sent 2 teams to help with hurricane clean-up and repairs on two different weekends following the hurricane. Both teams were a blessing to ALC&C as they helped with a bulk of the initial tree/brush clean-up and other various clean-up and repair jobs around the Centre and some at the Camp.
Youth by Youth group came after the hurricane to assist in the clean-up effort at ALC&C as well. Thank you: Denise Curry, Leader, Leonard Thompson, Briah Brown, Deandra Basden, Deneisha Knowles, Rickia Miller, La’Quaya Bethell, Erin Flowers, Sabrea Mackey, Lyndon Wallace, Rickai Roker, Rickia Roker, and Michael Miller, D’Shelle Duncombe, Lloydesha Brown, Samia Adderley, Samar Adderley
Mark Clark and his two sons were here at the beginning of November to help. They were scheduled to be here before the hurricane was even predicted. The plan was for them to help us build bunk beds for the new cabin at Camp, but his work at building fences at the Centre was needed more. Mark and the boys are from Pat and Janice’s home church in Delhi, NY.
Jordan K is good friends with Jen Rogers and came to help out with the animals at the Centre as well as in other areas at the Centre. We appreciate all she did to help as well as the time of encouragement she offered to Jen.
David Nunn is a young man who was here for 3 weeks from Windsor, Ontario Canada. He attends church with an ALC&C founding board member and was sent by the church to assist with the hurricane clean-up and repair. His first week here was spent in helping get the fences built and wired at the Centre. He also repaired small engine tools and put together Christmas light displays. We appreciate all this young man did and his godly character and testimony. He is going to be missed.
Dave and Gale Herwerden came to us for 2 weeks from Cleveland, Ohio. They worked hard (painting, cleaning, building fences, fixing the buses, etc), and their fun personalities were a bright spot for all of us during the working ours as well as the off times in the evenings. They had had plans to come and work here with us before the hurricane was even forecasted. Dave had been here in June as a chaperone with his church youth group at Grace CMA Church of Cleveland, Ohio.
Nicole Wojcik is from our church in Minnesota and was here with us a couple years ago. She returned at the first of November to help with hurricane related clean-up. She was one of the first persons to contact us and ask if she could come and help with the hurricane relief work. We enjoyed having her here and appreciate all the hard work she did.
Roger and Grace Grebe are ALC founder Randy Grebe’s parents. They know several of us here at ALC from our connections with them back in the States, and they stopped in to see the ministry while on a cruise that brought them to Nassau. It was a blessing getting to see them and receive a hug from “home”. We also got to enjoy a meal together at Outback Steakhouse.
Marty Fanning, Steve Mayo and Sean Fryer from Calvary Chapel Academy were with us for 2 days on a scouting trip. They are 3 of the leaders bringing the 8th graders from CCA on a mission trip here in January. In this picture they are standing in front of the fire ring bush area. The fire pit area is special to this group every year. This year the hurricane hit the area pretty hard and the team is going to come in January and help us clean it up. We always look forward to serving this team.
Celine Barr is a young lady from Red Bays, Andros. She has been here a couple of times. This time she was on sight for several days trying to get the proper paperwork to travel to the USA for a couple months. While she was here, she was introduced to what it is like to be a facilitator at the Centre, and guess what! She loved it. A possible application to be a facilitator maybe forthcoming from this sweet young lady!
Adam Greenhow is from the same church as David Nunn and came to serve with us a week and half ago. He is scheduled to be with us until December 8th. We have enjoyed getting to know him as well and appreciate the work he is doing with helping us get ready for the Christmas Lights Drive Thru.
David and Sue Bryant are fellow missionaries on Andros island just to the west of New Providence. They are the only missionaries in Red Bays (a settlement of about 400 people) and have come to us to rest and relax. They are spending Thanksgiving with family in Michigan but will be back with us again this weekend before heading back to Andros to continue their ministry work there. We feel blessed by their presence and are enjoying giving them the opportunity to retreat.
Walt and Marge Hutter are a couple from Andes, New York where Pat and Janice Armstrong hail from. Marge had been to ALC&C in earl 2014 on a mission trip with her church. We were able to stay with Walt and Marge when we were in Delhi, NY in November 2014. The Hutters had come to Nassau for a vacation with their daughter and her family, and we were able to pick them up at their hotel and bring them back to the ALC&C to visit and show Walt the ministry. This couple are great encouragers, and we are so thankful that they took time out of their vacation to spend some time with all of us.
Aaron, a couple of our visitors, Tim and I have been plugging away at getting the new cabin completed. It has to be done by January 4th when we welcome Calvary Chapel Academy here on their annual mission trip. The group of 94+ will be the first group to use the new cabin. With the painting and trim work nearly completed and the tile floor near completion, we will soon be able to start constructing 10 bunk beds. We have a team of 4 people from Rossville, Indiana coming in December to help us complete this very important project. Please pray that we are able to complete it before the holidays, so we can get some much needed rest while family is in town for Christmas.
Front Gate/Fence Issues (again)
Two weeks ago, we had two cars come through our fence and front gate within 2 nights of each other. It is hard to believe that it happened again. You may recall that we had 3 separate instances of cars coming through our gate/fence about seven months ago. This time the second accident took down our entire gate, opener, poles and fencing. We are “patiently” waiting for police reports to be finalized so we can have the car’s insurances pay for the work this time. We are also “patiently” waiting for the Ministry of Works to come and do something about this corner. Please pray that something is done about the curve and that the insurance comes through soon so we can get the property secured again.
We have not had many Youth Nights due to Hurricane Matthew, but the nights we have met, we have been studying the Armor of God. We have averaged 20-30 young people each night. The kids are divided into four groups for small group discussion times. Tim has been working with the grade 7-9 boys and I have been meeting with the grade 7-9 girls. It has been great getting to know these young people.
Some programming at the Centre has continued, but mostly the groups have been pre-school aged children. The government schools have been advised by the Ministry of Education to not go on field trips because the lost school days during the hurricane. The children coming into the Centre may be young, but we are thankful we get the opportunity to minister to them. Adventure Clubs (programs int he schools) have been taking place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Please pray that school programs will be able to begin again in the new year. Also pray for the facilitators that have not been using the learned curriculum that they will be able to remember what they have learned.
Christmas Lights Drive Thru
For a while following the hurricane, the Christmas Lights Drive Thru (one of our 2 annual community Gospel outreaches/ministry fundraisers) was in jeopardy. Hurricane damages as well as manpower and time needed for repairs and clean-up efforts made it unclear whether we were going to be able to pull it off. But we have decided, the show must go on! This year, as an encouragement to the Bahamian people following Hurricane Matthew, ALC&C will be presenting its Christmas Lights Drive Thru (CLDT) free of charge. Of course the event is not “free” to operate, and it is costing the ministry in terms of lost revenue, but we are providing the event free of charge nonetheless. We are encouraging the people of the Bahamas while getting an opportunity to present the clear Gospel message to all those who come through our gates. Please pray for all who attend that their hearts will be softened to the story of Jesus’s birth, life, death and resurrection!
In October, we took Zachary back to Indiana to live with my parents. He will be continuing his studies with Liberty University online, working full time, and getting settled back into USA life. We enjoyed our visit with family and helping Zachary acclimate. He has grown up so much over the last month.
Our trip to Indiana was a whirlwind trip with visits to a couple supporting churches and one of our ministry partners/major donors, visits with some of my relatives, and attendance at the Sovereign Grace Ministries Pastor’s Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. Besides the conference and the visits and helping Zachary get adjusted to adult life, we were also able to take advantage of working internet and telephones to connect with ALC donors and work on hurricane relief efforts from State side.
We will be staying here for Christmas. We have a mission team at the Camp December 18-23rd and then a team the first week in January. All our children except our oldest son and his wife will be coming for Christmas. Garrett, Abby and the baby will be coming on December 10th to help us serve the mission team and will be leaving the day after Christmas. Zachary comes on December 19th and Logan on December 24th. We are so looking forward to having them here.
At this Thanksgiving time, we cannot help but pause for a moment and give thanks to God for you and your interest in our lives and ministry work and for your support of us in your thoughts and prayers. For those of you who contribute to our ministry work, a special thank you! Without prayers and financial support of people like you, we could not be doing what we are doing.
We pray God’s blessing on you! Please keep in touch. It is a great encouragement to hear from you!